Axes. Chainmail. Swords and shields.
While these are the typical items you’d expect to find in a display about Vikings, a new exhibition at the Carnegie Science Center reveals these Norsemen and women to be far more than modern-day interpretations present them to be.
VIKINGS: Warriors of the North Sea, a touring exhibition that runs through Labor Day, introduces visitors to the concept that these famed fighters were also explorers, farmers, traders and craftsmen. More than 140 artifacts, including jewelry, clothing, a comb made out of bone and a full-sized Viking boat, shed light on a civilization that embraced science, technology, engineering and math.
Astute sailors, Vikings built sturdy, lightweight ships, navigated without compasses and sailed along the coast of North America more than 1,000 years ago, making them the first people to sail in these waters.
“Viking history is part of American history,” said Peter Pentz, curator of Danish Prehistory at the National Museum of Denmark, which produced the exhibit in partnership with MuseumsPartner in Austria and Pointe-à-Callière, Montreal Archaeology and History Complex of Québec with the collaboration of Ubisoft Montréal.
In addition to admiring many recent archaeological discoveries, including some that have never been seen in the U.S., visitors to the exhibit can build a Viking ship using a touch screen, test the balance between the blade and handle of a replica Viking sword, and play a digital version of a popular Viking strategy game that pre-dates the introduction of chess in Europe.
“Vikings transformed and influenced the way that western society speaks, travels, works and even grooms themselves,” said Jason Brown, Henry Buhl, Jr., director of the Carnegie Science Center of the far-reaching impact the Viking Age had, despite only lasting 250 years or nine generations. “While Vikings dominate pop culture today, they are often misrepresented and misunderstood. We hope this exhibition shares the true nature of the Scandinavians we know as Vikings.”
To get tickets to see VIKINGS: Warriors of the North Sea, visit https://carnegiesciencecenter.org.